Is the Baby ‘Grown’ up or is This Once-In-a-While Incident?

BY: KUIR E GARANG, ALBERTA, CANADA, AUG/17/2013, SSN;

Let’s not kid ourselves that things have changed for better, however, South Sudan is starting to ‘grow up’ if it was ever a conceptual or situational child. The ‘vetting’ of president’s nominees for the cabinet is a start of democratic and due process of accountability in South Sudan.

At least, that’s what I think, and for a long time I have something, just a little, to make me smile for once.

Or maybe not! As Dr. Lam Akol has pointed out, the function of the ‘vetting’ committee wasn’t well spelt out and presented to the public before they started their function. That means their mandates, constraints and terms of ‘vetting’ weren’t known until they started their work of ‘vetting’ the nominees.

Like always in South Sudan, accountability is kicked onto the wayside in the process of trying to be accountable. But let me say they (MPs) are trying.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Telar is now a ‘victim’ of due process, and we know victims of due process are most of the time up to no good. Perhaps Telar is a victim of incompetence and lack of transparency.

We know one thing though: Telar accepted the parliamentary vote so the MPs must have done something right…and that’s why Telar accepted it. Kudos to both Telar and the Parliament!

So, admittedly, South Sudanese national assembly has now started to do what it was elected to do, not some mouth-piece of the president and his cabinet. ‘Why’ is not a question I’m able to answer, however, ‘why’ is an unnecessary question now.

The questions we have to ask now are: ‘would they continue this as a political tradition in South Sudan? And will they also shake up the security services?’ A ‘yes’ to those questions would call for a huge celebration. Strict adherence to constitutional requirements and being the voice of the people is the natural function of the parliament.

Additionally, the parliament is also there to put checks and balances on some of the president’s decisions.

If I’m not being too optimistic, or to some extent naïve, I’d say that putting everyone to account for one’s deeds should be extended to all functions of the government to make sure no one gets away with abuse of public office and public resources.

The president of South Sudan, who has been given absolute power by John Luk Jok through the Interim and/or Transitional Constitution, will now (fingers crossed) know that he doesn’t have free reign as long as he does something contrary to the good of South Sudanese citizens, or the constitution.

Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Transitional Constitution and the government borrowed evil and undemocratic clauses and practices from the enemy we were trying to get rid of.

Council of Ministers, Council of States and the National Assembly, as a structure, were borrowed from the Sudanese Constitution. Section 101 (r) which says the president can remove an elected governor in the event of a ‘crisis’ that threatens ‘national security and territorial integrity’ was taken from the Sudanese ‘Emergency Laws.’

Beshir does it so Kiir does it! The use of decrees; mostly the favorite of dictatorial leaders, was derived from the Sudanese government: Abboud used it, Nimeiri used it and Beshir now uses it…and now president Kiir has adopted it.

The censorship of newspapers and unwarranted arrests of journalists were borrowed from the Sudanese National Security.

Nhial Bol (of THE CITIZEN) and Alfred Taban (of JUBA MONITER) will tell you that security harassment even gets worse in Juba than in Khartoum! Such state of affair would have made comrade Kiir (of 1980s) sad. But president Kiir now (of 2013) seems to be okay with it!

So, having patted the Parliament on the back, I have to stress that the parliament still has a long way to go and a lot to do for South Sudanese to see it as a strong, independent institution that cannot be manipulated by the president and people of self-interest like Telar Ring Deng.

Telar was kicked out of the SPLM in 2008, so he used his closeness to the president to hit back, because someone helped the president kick him out. We know who that is!

The parliament should now ask to review the removal of Mr. Chol Tong Mayay as the governor of Lakes State and Mr. Taban Deng Gai as governor of Unity State.

Their removals are all unconstitutional as their states didn’t and don’t have any crises that are threatening our ‘national security and territorial integrity.’

The only state whose crisis is threatening national security and territorial integrity is Jonglei State.

This is the time for the parliament to make sure that whimsical decision making are checked to make sure they are in the best interest of South Sudanese.

Without delay, the parliament should protect people whose opinions and ideologies differ from those of SPLM. Members of the media should also be protected as some misguided political leaders think the enemy of the people are journalists.

People who point out mistakes committed by government officials are the friends of the people. People who ignore performance faux pas are the enemy number one of South Sudan.

The parliament should therefore enlighten government officials and the security services in order to understand that no nation is built on a single point of view.

Diversity of opinion, as long as it’s well intended and respectfully conveyed, is of paramount importance.

People who show the government where it goes wrong give the government an opportunity for self-evaluation in order to find ways to improve service provision.

If the government is not given an opportunity for self-evaluation, or challenged on how it’s performing, then such as a government can never produce any tangle dividends to the people it serves.

It will always assume it’s doing the right thing even when it’s headed in the wrong direction.

There’s a long way to go and a lot to do but the ‘vetting’ of nominees is a start.

Kuir ё Garang is a South Sudanese poet, author and publisher living in Canada. He’s the author of the upcoming book, South Sudan Ideologically. For contact visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.kuirthiy.com

19 Comments

  1. dear editor
    your article reflected all the things that interfere with the duties of our MPs in the parliament. the system of government in Juba is half way dictatorship and rotten to the core. SS NA has numerous challenges due to some reasons beyond description, poverty in SS makes people become venerable to bribery, suspicious political grouping, tribal line and lack of concentration and when this kind of corruption is embodied in the system, the entire system will collapse and one man rule will automatically get way in.
    therefore, our MPS are to pull up their socks and work tirelessly for the people not for president kiir, they were elected by the people and not appointed by the president. in the other of the story, our journalists have suffered dignified silence under SS security personnel, arbitrary arrest, intimidation torturing, close censorship to avoid sensitive information to reach the public.
    a democratic society works for peace and gives freedom to journalists to disseminate information needed. But the SPLM led govt becomes the worst than ever, rampant corruption, tribalism, lack of vision and many ill practices that are unwanted.

  2. kikisik says:

    Kuir my friend, I know you from Egypt, when we were students, I used to read most of your comments, but this one is outstanding! And to our parliament, ”You are never too old to grow up,” Kuir, to you and others that keep the ball rolling- we are proud of you guys keep it up. It is with pride that you people are of value to South Sudan. God Bless you all and God Bless the hungry voices that are crying for peace, unity and Love.

    • Manyok Chuol says:

      Hi Kikisik,

      Not that this is important but not to be confused, Kuir Garang who wrote this piece is not the Kuir Garang you knew in Egypt. In fact I know both; the author of this commentary lives in Calgary, AB, while the other Kuir Garang you’re saying you knew in Egypt lived in Ottawa, ON, until he relocated to South Sudan in late 2011.

      To the author, Kuir Garang, this is an objective and commendable piece.

  3. Bhanyker says:

    Good piece of article. I like the basic intellectualism and the judgement. For example: Absolute power that is given to the president in the interim constitution by John luk and his team. that is correct, actually John Luk and his team, have given the president unquestionable powers. But i am doubtful, that the interim constitution was written by John Lok and his team, without direct involvement from presidential advisers.
    However, John Luk and his team should have resisted some articles. Especially the one which gives the president the power to sack and appoint as he wishes.

  4. Aj says:

    Dear readers,
    if we want to get rid of this government, young SS need to act and be active in today SS politics. The young SS should employ smart mind to act for good of the nation. We need to grow and ditch aside tribalism and work as SS for future good. This is the only way we can become a nation of harmony come 50+ years from now otherwise we will always fight amongst us along the tribal line.
    We, who had tasted western nation lifestyles should work and forget to be influenced by your brothers at home and work fro entire nation not region. Kirr is a piece of shit and we can remove him if all of us SS educated could work as a nation and stop pointing fingers like am or he or s/he from EES, WES, WES B, UNITY JONGOLI etc. We need to shut our eyes and minds on this and work or act as a nation.

    Also, this notion of calling others weak or corrupt should stop so that we don’t discriminate others. No matter how much you fought for the liberation, let us work for the benefit of all.
    Let us try harder

    AJ

    • AJ:

      I wonder, what part of the West are you in? The attitude you have used to address the president in your home land can not be found in the Western World. No educated Westerner can address his/her president or Prime Minister as a piece of shit. That attitude alone can not qualify you as somebody who is genuinely appealing for peace and unity. Also the Unity of South Sudan can not only be achieved through the six (6) States you have mentioned in your comment. President Kiir could indeed be a piece of shit as you claimed, however this does not mean that the people of Warrap State, Lakes States and Northern B.G.State are also a piece of shit or illiterate.

      Please finish whatever you are study in the West and start to learn and adopt the way the educated Westerners behave socially and politically. I hope you would not return to South sudan and behave like Mr. Gama Hassan who put the handkerchief on his hand to greet his own mother in the fear that his mother’s hands are filthily dirty. Anyhow, I applauded your appeal for unity and I advise you to extend the unity to all the ten (10) States unless you are calling for the extension of Kokora to the above mentioned States in your comment. There is a saying that the Charity starts at home first. Therefore let us start the unity with ourselves on the SSN forum.

      “The truth must be told even if it hurts”
      Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang!

  5. john jerry says:

    It is true that the RSS is a baby and growing. A well groomed child will grow into a mature Adult with the culture and nature that children grow up into. Our leaders must treat south sudan as a member of its family. If we care for our families we must also care for our people and treat them as if they were a member of the family.

    There is nobody who is born a bad person, we all learn those things in the environment in which we live and culture into which we are brought up. Where did we learn the culture of corruption from? Those things were unheard of, people used to sleep out in the open in juba, today is a different story. Will we see those days again in future or we will see see bad rotten days instead in the future?
    Now that the new cabinet is sworn in we expect change, real change in the real world nothing but change focused on development for basic services delivery as health, schools, good drinking water, roads and above all insecurity. Where there is insecurity no development will take place and good governance must be the cornerstone for development to kick start.

    Create jobs by inviting investors to start business in the industrial sectors that is where growth will take place faster and as a result the skilled training in various Vocational institutions will not be wasted as the industries will absorb them in their ranks. Grow the industries and rehabilitate those established earlier such as Upper Talanga Tea Project, Mongala weaving factory, Tonj Kenaf, melut sugar and others.

    • John Jerry,

      My friend, development does not come to a country where there is no rule of law. Development comes to the countries where citizens have rights to choose the leaders they want and vote out the leaders that do not meet citizens expectations. President Kiir and his advisor Yoweri Museveni restricted peace, education, food security, and stability in South Sudan for their own individualistic benefits.
      For example, a governor who is appointed by Salva Kiir will do only what Kiir wants them to do but not what the citizens of state needs them to do. A county commissioner who is appointed by a governor will do only what the governor wants them to do but not what the county citizens want them to do.
      A chief justice will prosecute only the citizens who the president wants them to prosecute but not what the citizens want the chief justice to do. Overall, any country where the government officials are appointed by president never have peace and good security.

      South Sudan citizens are in a huge dilemma.

      • john jerry says:

        It is the constitution to blame for all the mess. Write a permanent constitution that will be respected by all, that limits presidential decrees. one single person should not be given too much power. it is the law that is above anything.

  6. Eastern says:

    Dear Garang,

    A very good critical article full of comparison of obnoxious laws borrowed by Kiir’s kingdom (South Sudan) from the Sudan. Same to those in government for borrowing wholesome the draconian laws of the Sudan – a country trying very hard to deny that it is an African country with African people!!! Thank you for your critical article. Keep it up!!

    • Eastern,

      I understand your comments very well. We fought Arabs and Sudan government for 23 plus years because their constitutions are not fair. Why our president is adopting Sudan government constitutions? Are they not the same constitutions we had opposed several years ago? In fact, Salva Kiir and supporters are like a dog, which ate a huge meal, vomit it up, and eat it again. Big shame on Kiir and those who admire his administration. This is a big shame to our president and those who support him.

      • Bentiu Ramaran:

        This is the first time in a month you have commented on something that makes a lot of sense to me. What you have said about the function of the government in South Sudan is true. However, the president of Uganda,Yoweri Museveni has no hand or saying in what is happening in our political Bedroom. The blame will be shouldered by president Kiir and his Nuer Cousins who criticize president Kiir at night and praise him for a job well done during the day.

        If you call a thief by his/her name and tell him/her that you are a thief and what you are doing is wrong, that thief would never steal in your presence. This is precisely what is happening in our Country, nobody is telling kiir that he is a thief and what is doing is wrong. Have you ever heard any government officials resigning in protest against what is happening in president Kiir’s government? They wait until they are forced out of the government and tell the truth or condemn Kiir’s government. Please tell the Anti Corruption Boss, Justice John Gatwech to indict president Kiir for the corruption and everything will follow suit. Please keep it up. This is the real Bentiu Ramaran that I knew before the political turmoil in Juba.

      • Bentiu Ramaran:

        Which article in the Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan is similar to that of Sudan? One of the articles that was mostly hated in the National Constitution of the Old Sudan by South Sudanese is the one that says that Sudan shall never be ruled by the Non-Muslim. Does Kiir’s Constitution say that South Sudan shall not be ruled by Nuer or by any South Sudanese other than Dinka? In fact, Dr. Riek Machar and his blind followers/supporters vomited and urinated on their vomit in 1991 and fled to Khartoum, but returned shamefully and licked up all their vomit and urine in 2000. What a shame and disgusting people!

        “The truth must be told even if it hurts”
        Lukudu Gatkuoth Garang!

  7. akolf says:

    Thank you Kuir for your analysis.

  8. Kuir Garang,

    Why president Kiir adopted Sudan constitutions? If Sudan constitutions were good constitutions, then why we separated from Sudan? The government of South Sudan is corrupted from the top to the toe and it is not going anywhere. Kiir is foolish president, period.

  9. kikisik says:

    Hi Manchok, thank for differentiating between this two guys.

  10. GatCharwearbol says:

    Mr. Kuir Garang:

    Let this serve as point of correction or enlightenment. The Transitional Constitution of The Republic of South Sudan is not written by John Luk Jok, the former Minister of Justice. A close relative of Salva Kiir Mayardit who resides in South Africa composed the Transitional Constitution. Justice, John Luk Jok was just handed the already composed Constitutional document and he has no say on its contents. In actuality, it is the work of Salva Kiir Mayardit.

    This is dictatorial mindset and it is up to Salva Kiir Mayardit to direct the composer of our Constitution to re-write it per his Boss directive; otherwise, he would be out of job in no time.

    Good article though. Keep up with good work!

  11. majongdit says:

    Kuir Garang,
    This is a well balanced article. I would only beg to differ with you on Telar’s acceptance of the parliament’s decision. You seem to imply in the article that Telar acceptance justifies the decision of the parliament. I say big No! Telar accepted the decision as a learned guy. Telar didn’t want to fight so vigorously for a position in the cabinet. Telar didn’t want the tussle to go on and on.
    Telar believes that the decision by the parliament, whether right or wrong, is the final. Telar accepted the parliament’s decision on the basis of that and to show compliance. Otherwise, the article carries some really good analysis. I rate it second best to the one written earlier by Dr Lam Akol Ajawin.

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